Local heroes emerge at scene of country’s worst mass shooting

Valencia group of friends attending Sunday's concert in Las Vegas. Top row: Sydney Striff, Emily Tuffey, Kellie Kleszcz Jesse Heyer Bottom row: Emily Ellias, Chance Earnest, Brooke Dawson. courtesy photo by Veronica Dawson.
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Jesse Heyer, of Valencia, who just completed his EMT course on how to help others put his newly-acquired skills to use Sunday when he ran back to the concert as shots were still being fired on the crowd and aided those who were shot.

Heyer, 22, was with a group of seven Valencia friends at the Route 91 Harvest Music Country Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, when people around him were suddenly being shot and dropping to the ground.

At first, he ran with his friends for safety, but 10 seconds later, he said he stopped and ran back to the chaos.

“When we first heard the gunshots we didn’t know what was going on then we ran. But, I just finished my EMT (emergency medical technician) class and I thought ‘I can’t just leave them.’ I had to go back.”

His friends, thankful to have survived after they ran to safety, learned only later about the heroism their friend had demonstrated.

“We didn’t hear about what Jesse did until later,” Valencia High School grad Brooke Dawson said later. “We were so proud of him.”

The first victim Heyer came across, he said, was a woman with a gunshot wound to her leg.

“I took off my shirt and applied pressure,” he said.

“The second person I got to was a kid in his 20s and he was bleeding at the back of his head,” Heyer said.

As he went victim to victim, attending to them, another young man about his age, was doing the same, he said.

The two of them met each other when they attended to the same “kid with the head wound.”

“When I was with him he was still alive,” Heyer said about the wounded kid. “I told him to put his thumbs up to see if he was OK because I wanted to make sure he was still with us.

Together, Heyer and the other young helper he knew only as Garrett – later identified as Garrett Holcombe – continued to help others.

At one point, he brought a victim to a passing Uber driver. “I told her (Uber driver) ‘You’re not leaving without taking somebody,’” he said. The driver took two injured victims.

“There was a girl shot in the leg,” Heyer said. “I put a tourniquet on her leg.”

Then he and Holcombe got in the back of a pickup truck where they found two wounded men who were deceased and at least eight other victims

“We helped two of the survivors,” Heyer said. “We started doing chest compressions.”

As he and Holcombe treated victims, each of them performing CPR in the back of the truck, a third young man named Daniel, pushed against their backs to prevent them falling out of the truck, Heyer said.

When they arrived at the hospital, Heyer learned another weighty lesson about being an EMT when he learned his patient had died.

“The guy’s wife was there,” he said. “They were newly married. It was really hard to see how sad she was.”

Reached Tuesday, Holcombe told The Signal he needs some time before talking about the shooting.

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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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